sheldman

Union Market - Public Market on 5th Street and Neal Place NE in Brentwood

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I don't think that there is (or at least I cannot find) a thread on Union Market (warning - autoplay embedded video with sound), which seems to be set to open next weekend.

This looks to be a nice new multi-vendor indoor market, in that old market area that includes Litteri's, near Florida and NY NE.

I am not involved with it, but from what I can gather it will include Rappahannock Oysters, a cheese seller, a creamery, a pickler, etc. I hope that it works out well.

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I'm eager to check it out. Seems like it could be similar to the ferry building in sf, albeit on a much smaller scale. Excited for trickling springs, lyon bakery, empanadas and takorean, oyster bar, cheese shop, etc. It should be a nice detour for my trips to Litteri's.

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Is this place open right now? I've seen articles saying it opens Saturday. But, on their web site, there's a graphic that says "YES...THE MARKET IS OPEN" and "OPEN SATURDAY & SUNDAY 8-8".

My wife and I were thinking about going tomorrow, but I really can't tell if it's open or not.

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I wonder if there is a parking lot with the revamped building. Parking is usually fine over there if shopping at the wholesale markets, but I can see a problem with all the unmarked parking and an influx of people not using public transportation to get there. If i lived in DC, I would bike, but coming from Alx, I am most certinaly driving.

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Too bad the Red Line will be a clusterfuck this weekend. Red line will be closed between Dupont and NoMA-Galludet, details

Otherwise this should be a very cool addition to the DC food scene.

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Went today, what a nice space. Saw our own Mr. RJ Cooper manning his Rogue Soda Bar serving duck dogs and roasted garlic popcorn. A nice surprise.

I love how they had the DC Scoops competition today, so very fun. I can see some cooking competitions being hosted here in the future. I hope they do at least, I would love to compete.

Sad to not see Takorean or DC Empanadas opened yet. Was surprised that they couldn't manage to open for the opening weekend of the market. After all we're talking tacos and empanadas......

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Those pork rib cutlets from the EcoFriendly stand (one Ossabaw, one farmer's cross) were the best damn cutlets I've cooked in years. (Dusted with five-spice, salt, pepper. Inverted broil - 7 minutes moderate oven in preheated cast iron skillet, rested while broiler got hot, 2 min per side to brown.)

Just wow. Thanks for the pointer, CrescentFresh.

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Really enjoyed seeing the space, and I urge all of you to contact the managers of Union Market to make Border Springs a permanent vendor. It was awesome to be able to get his lamb, which he confirmed is not available anywhere else (though I thought he was selling through ecofriendly at one point), and business was BOOMING at his stand.

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I wonder if there is a parking lot with the revamped building. Parking is usually fine over there if shopping at the wholesale markets, but I can see a problem with all the unmarked parking and an influx of people not using public transportation to get there. If i lived in DC, I would bike, but coming from Alx, I am most certinaly driving.

There's some diagonal parking in front of the building, though not as much as I expected from the online graphic. Definitely not enough for a day like yesterday, but maybe for a daytime stop during the week it will be fine.

Went today, what a nice space.

I love how they had the DC Scoops competition today, so very fun. I can see some cooking competitions being hosted here in the future. I hope they do at least, I would love to compete.

Say hi next time :) The DC Scoops event was a lot of fun. There were posters on the wall in the market listing several other events coming up in the next few months. Of course, I'm drawing a blank on most of them, but do remember there was an oyster shucking competition listed. It is a lovely space; I hope the coming weeks just continue to get busier and better for the vendors.

Speaking of oysters, the Rappahannock Oyster bar was bustling and serving up some delicious oysters (on the half shell, roasted, or in chowder), clams (raw or steamed), crab cakes, and tuna loin. They also had a nice selection of local beers on tap and some interesting cocktails on the menu. I will definitely be back just to go there, but there are lots of other good reasons to return: bread from Lyon Bakery, Neopol's beautiful smoked fish, gorgeous flowers, olive oils, etc.

As June Bacon mentioned, some of the vendors aren't open yet, but should be soon. Looking forward to checking out Righteous Cheese (sampling yesterday and opening on Sept 15), Amanda McClements' store, and Buffalo and Bergen, when they open. I do hope Border Springs, EcoFriendly, and some of the other pop-up vendors become permanent fixtures.

ETA: Crafty Bastards is one of the events that will be held at Union Market.

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Drats, I was hoping they'd be open for lunch today, but the security guard standing outside said they weren't opening for weekday hours until November.

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Drats, I was hoping they'd be open for lunch today, but the security guard standing outside said they weren't opening for weekday hours until November.

Their website says they are open Fridays 11-8.

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Union Market was frustrating this morning, and I hope that the folks "in charge," as well as the participating vendors, do what is necessary to make it work. What I mean is, the posted hours for Sunday are 8 to 8. On arriving at about 1030, it felt like we found more vendors not interested in selling, than ones that were interested. Several stalls, marked with vendors' names, were completely empty. Others had equipment but no personnel. Others had personnel but were not interested in exchanging goods for $ until some time after 11 (and conveyed this information either directly, or by simply ignoring people). A relative few were happy to do business, and had some really good stuff. This sort of market really requires a critical mass of actively-working vendors. I wonder if the developers insisted on having an opening day before people were actually ready, or whether there is some other sort of problem. Whatever it is, I hope they fix it and get vendors in there, and actually doing business, during business hours.

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Went to check out Union Market this past weekend. Buffalo and Bergen were doing their first trial run on Sunday and offering up 2 kinds of knishes (potato/onion; and baco/cheddar) and fun drinks (root beer floats and egg creams). The potato/onion knish was the best knish I'd had in a really long time. Served warmed-up, the pastry casing was nice and thin, and the filling was strong in potato and carmelized onion. Most importantly, the filling was still moist and not completely dried out as I have found with other potato knishes.

The staff was bubbly and friendly and did a great job of working the counter space.

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Union Market was frustrating this morning, and I hope that the folks "in charge," as well as the participating vendors, do what is necessary to make it work. What I mean is, the posted hours for Sunday are 8 to 8. On arriving at about 1030, it felt like we found more vendors not interested in selling, than ones that were interested. Several stalls, marked with vendors' names, were completely empty. Others had equipment but no personnel. Others had personnel but were not interested in exchanging goods for $ until some time after 11 (and conveyed this information either directly, or by simply ignoring people). A relative few were happy to do business, and had some really good stuff. This sort of market really requires a critical mass of actively-working vendors. I wonder if the developers insisted on having an opening day before people were actually ready, or whether there is some other sort of problem. Whatever it is, I hope they fix it and get vendors in there, and actually doing business, during business hours.

From their Facebook page, the organizers have been pretty upfront about the soft opening approach and gradually bringing in more vendors. I know they haven't finished building out the place yet, they are going to install a full service butcher station and it looks like they need to install the station for the seafood vendor too. I agree that when you go there can be a limited selection before 11am. However, I would hope that instead of sticking to the 8am-8pm schedule for all vendors, that they expand the hours from like 7:00am to 11:00pm for the market and let vendors make up their own hours. I don't think I'll buy eggs at 9:00pm, or do oysters and cocktails at 8:00am, but I would buy eggs at 7am and slurp briny goodies way past 8:00pm.

Hopefully the valid concerns you raise go away once they are closer to 100% occupancy instead of 40%.

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Went to check out Union Market this past weekend. Buffalo and Bergen were doing their first trial run on Sunday and offering up 2 kinds of knishes (potato/onion; and baco/cheddar) and fun drinks (root beer floats and egg creams). The potato/onion knish was the best knish I'd had in a really long time. Served warmed-up, the pastry casing was nice and thin, and the filling was strong in potato and carmelized onion. Most importantly, the filling was still moist and not completely dried out as I have found with other potato knishes.

The staff was bubbly and friendly and did a great job of working the counter space.

^ Is this a rotating spot? The spot where RJ was on opening week? This could be really neat if they had rotating local guest chefs change up the theme every week.

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^ Is this a rotating spot? The spot where RJ was on opening week? This could be really neat if they had rotating local guest chefs change up the theme every week.

I believe that will be a permanent spot for Buffalo and Bergen and RJ Cooper was just doing a pop-up that first week.

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It'll be a great spot for when they're permanently and fully set up. There was also mention of a real soda fountain counter and machines coming from an old Woolworths for that space. Rockin' it old school. love it.

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Few vendors were open at 9 on Sunday. Guess I should've gone much later. I went to Eastern Market right afterwards and everything was open inside.

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^^^

Arrive an hour later and say hi next time. I enjoyed the knishes at Gina's B&B, and the gravalox on egg barl at Neopol.

But yesterday was the day to go, for the Red Apron and Churchkey pop-up. I enjoyed a Porchetta Samba sandy and a Wheat beer. Then it was a leisurely crabcake, oyster chowder and a Death in the Afternoon at Rapp. Oysters. Great day siting outside at a cafe table. Saturdays also see that Trickling Springs and A. Litteri's is open.

Other faves are Border Springs chili. Picked up a Valdeon block at Righteous Cheese. A Sirloin from Eco-Friendly for tartare tonight. Had my blades sharpened at DC Mobile Sharpening a week before I sliced my pinky tip off with my overbearing mother over my shoulder, a clean surgerical slice, not a painful tear.

I feel this is the most exciting food venue in town right now, not sure what else compares? That said, 9am Sunday isnt a great time. But Eastern Market isnt really a competitor IMO.

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DC fire fighters are reporting the fire at 400 Morse, about two blocks away from UM. One of the older warehouses, I think they sell goat there.

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We had a very enjoyable lunch at Rappahannock Oyster Bar this afternoon after picking up our knives from being sharpened. All of the counter seats and the communal table were occupied at 1:00, but they were happy to serve us at one of the little two tops along the front window. We shared a half dozen on the half shell, a bowl of oyster chowder (giant chunks of slab bacon and whole oysters) and a stellar tuna tartare with thai basil and chiles. One glass of wine from the decent list and a 3 Stars peppercorn Saison (this was much, much better than it may sound). It wasn't a cheap noontime "snack", though; $60 after tip. We will definitely be back, it's a great place to sit with some wine and snacks.

Next up will be cheese and wine flights at Righteous Cheese. Some friends went after Crafty Bastards and reported a great time. Really happy to have this place a stones throw from our house. An afternoon of wholesale shopping and lunch at Union Market is ... odd. Very different experiences bound by a common geographical thread.

(Moderators' note: shouldn't we split discussion of the different eateries in UM to their own topics in the Dining forum? I almost did that, but this was already here with dining comments, so ...)

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Made a first visit to UM today. Was in the area to do a Home Depot run so stopped in for lunch. Though current hours are Weds-Sunday, they're open all week this week for Thanksgiving. Kind of. More below.

HEADLINE

A great concept with huge potential. Small concerns about the location and the time it's taking to realize said potential but very optimistic.

VENUE

Union Market (UM) is a hip, modern oasis amidst a still very dated industrial part of the city that looks the way it has for decades. Various wholesale businesses with Korean and Chinese signs abut UM to the west, selling everything from sides of beef to restaurant supplies. Most of those have been there for many, many years.

As others have written upthread, parking is probably a bit limited if UM is bustlng (it wasn't today and the lot across from the entrance was near empty).

The building itself is gorgeous with a larger-than-life block lettered sign atop the building making clear what's inside. Could just as easily imagine it as an incubator hosting a bevy of web 2.0 dotcoms. Gladly, it isn't that. Go food! One of the vendors there today explained to me that they're still leasing space with a plan for a minority (maybe he said 40%) devoted to changing pop-up concepts along with a majority of permanent merchants.

Lots of light with floor-to-ceiling windows and good interior lighting. Wide walkways between the different merchants and extra points for plenty of tables at which to sit with drinks, food or whatever. It all reminds me of several places along with the usually cited Eataly. Markets throughout Europe. Pioneer Square in Seattle, Movenpick, Fisherman's Wharf, SF, etc.

Heard from one of the vendors that the owners are looking at possibly buying and converting some of the older buildings just to the west across the street but guessing that doesn't happen anytime too soon. Clearly, as cool as UM is, they have a lot to still build out, fill and smooth out before they're firing on all cylinders.

FOOD

Today and tomorrow are being promoted by UM as follows:

special hours during the week of Thanksgiving to help you get a jump on your holiday shopping.

Our hours will be:

  • Monday: 11-5:30
  • Tuesday: 11-8

But that's not really right. It was open. But nearly all of the vendors were either closed altogether (Righteous Cheese, TaKorean, DC Empanadas among them) or operating with very limited offerings (Rappahonnock Oyster and others). It was my first visit and totally understandable that it's not a day they'd typically be open, they're only in their 2nd full month of operation and the like. But, between the website and facebook, maybe they could have just let people know it'd be limited operation? Not a big deal. Just a thought.

Rappahonnock wasn't serving their full menu with hot items. Just raw bar. I got a dozen oysters to try the three kinds shucked to order. Old Salts and two others of less brine. All excellent, fresh, deep cupped with distinctive flavors. Bearcats are oysters they sell pre-shucked in jars. Didn't try or buy those but looked good if you're making oyster pie, oyster soup, oyster stuffing, oyster cake or whatever.

Also ordered a "lambwich" from one of the only places that had non-mollusk food available. I think it was one of the pop-up vendors (maybe border springs farm?) and sold only products made from lamb. The gentleman working their was great, recommending the sandwich from about 5 or so options and sharing a bit about the market. He and many others there evidently worked at Jose Andres outposts. Very nice. The simple sandwich of rustic bread, arugula, a horseradish spread and smoky lamb pastrami was a nice addition after the oysters.

Final stop was Peregrine. Really thrilled to see these guys at UM as I think they probably do the best espresso drinks in the city with no difference in quality between this location and Capitol Hill or 14th St. My capp was perfect.

Lyon Bakery was open and, while the attendant looked pretty bored without much foot traffic there, the breads all looked great.

BOTTOM LINE

I obviously need to get back here when it's fully operating. Their normal days are Weds to Sunday and it sounds like they've been very busy on weekends. Closed this Thursday for the holiday. UM is a super addition to Washington, DC. So much great potential slowly being realized. I'll be back. Likely often.

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